I've heard people say "понимаешь" when they clearly intend to mean "I understand", such as in this line from the Serebro song Не Время:

Я понимаешь, я это чувствую потом мы всё наверстаем, я предчувствую

Why is it "Я понимаешь" and not "Я понимаю"? Does this have some sort of rhetorical effect?

Also, in everyday conversation: I've heard people respond to my question "Понимаешь?" with: "Понимаешь". This has happened more than once with multiple people.


4 Answers 4


Right punctuation is

Я, понимаешь, я это чувствую, потом мы всё наверстаем, я предчувствую

The translation is

I, you know, I'm feeling it, we will catch all then, I forefeel it.

"Понимаешь" in this case isn't a really the verb, but acts as a filler. The full phrase would look like "понимаешь ли ты?" (do you understand?)

  • A better translation for "всё наверстаем" would be "[we'll] catch up completely". Aug 31, 2021 at 20:36
  • Still doesn't explain why I've heard people respond to my question "Понимаешь?" then they say: "Понимаешь". This has happened more than once with multiple people.
    – Isa
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:11
  • @Isa Am I right (just for clarity) that you've expected to hear "[Да], понимаю"?
    – artptr
    Sep 15, 2021 at 17:56
  • Yes, I expect to hear "Да, понимаю" but instead the speaker answers "Понимаешь"
    – Isa
    Sep 16, 2021 at 18:57
  • It's ungrammatical and perceived as throwing the question back.
    – artptr
    Sep 16, 2021 at 22:24

You should say: "Я, понимаешь, ...", or: "Я понимаю". In the first case, "понимаешь" is related to "ты" - not "я".

  • Please provide additional details in your answer. As it's currently written, it's hard to understand your solution.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 1, 2021 at 6:55

As a native speaker I do this too when talking to someone. Let’s look at понимать and its present tense conjugations to understand.

Я понимаю

Ты понимаешь

Он, она, оно понимает

Они понимают

Вы понимаете

Мы понимаем

So saying я понимаешь looks like it makes no sense, but it is like saying, I, you know, or “I, as you know.”



Я понимаю = I understand

Ты понимаешь = You understand

Я понимаешь = "wrong",

Я, понимаешь (что-то) = I, you know (something)

  • 1
    Please read other answers to see that it's actually your answer that is wrong.
    – shabunc
    Sep 8, 2021 at 11:25
  • Я понимаешь - wrong /// Я, понимаешь, ... = I, you know, ...
    – Elena
    Sep 16, 2021 at 6:59

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